It’s our passion that women (and their partners and families) have the chance to feel positive about their pregnancy, their birth and having and caring for a new baby.
But we also find very often people expect that we support ‘natural’ birth, or ‘drug free’ birth or home birth. Maybe that’s because we’re also fond of saying we believe in women and their bodies. So, let’s just get this straightened out.
What do Positive Birth Portsmouth members really mean by positive birth?
There are as many answers to that as there are people who you ask the question but here’s a selection.
“It's not about where or how she births, it is about feeling loved, heard, informed, supported and honoured.”
“A positive birth is one where you feel you had choices and support making and upholding those choices.”
"Positive birth happens when women are able to be free from unnecessary fear and feel empowered to own their own pregnancies and births. Supporting each other is often an important part of having a positive birth"
"Positive birth happens when women are empowered to be the authors of their own birth stories."
“Birth is something women should look forward to. I did! I'm totally committed to making sure women have the BEST birth experience for them.”
“Free of fear, supported by the ones you love…”
“Positive birth means knowing you have choices, knowing you don’t have to just ‘do what you’re told’ making informed decisions and being supported in them.”
“Positive birth is one where you make your own choices and everyone caring for your respects and supports those decisions.”
“...every woman and every child born are given the best opportunity to have a healthy and happy experience.”
That's a lot of thoughts what's the number one thing that makes a birth positive?
The main theme is that a positive birth is one where you know your choices, have all the information you need and feel supported in those choices. As a group, we don’t offer advice unless it is this, do your research and make your own choice. We think it’s important that no one opinion is more valuable than another we listen to the whole story of how you feel, to what it’s like to be you and to why you make the choices you make and we support you to make the choices you want to make with all the information you need. Then we stand behind you as you confidently insist that your choices for your own birth are respected and listened to.
So we do believe in your body and your ability to birth, but your ability to birth as you choose to do, not valuing any choice above another.
Why can't we just go with the flow, birth can't be predicted so why build up your hopes?
Yes it's true birth in unpredictable but preparing for a positive birth means being prepared for the flow to change but knowing you still have choices and birth is something you're ding not something that's happening to you.
We also know that many women have been taught to fear birth through the messages in the media and the horror stories they have been old since they found out they were pregnant (and sadly sometimes through previous experiences). But more than that, we know this doesn’t have to be the way, that we can provide an atmosphere of sharing between women where the positive stories of how amazing it is to work with your body and be supported through such an overwhelming experience and make your own choices and meet your own baby can be shared. The more we share stories of positive birth experiences the more women will be able to know that could also be their experience and go on to have their own positive birth. We find most women will be surprised with how not scary after all labour and birth can be and how when given a positive environment their body's do just work.
We also find that even when birth doesn’t go smoothly with support and informed choices women can still find it’s a positive experience. You can have a positive homebirth, positive water birth, positive birth centre birth, positive birth on labour ward, positive epidural birth, positive assisted birth, positive c-section. As long as each of these things happens in an atmosphere where you know you are supported and your decisions are yours alone and are the best ones for you on that day.